#9. Don’t start a new blog when you don’t own a computer

Well that was stupid. For the last 10 months or more I have used my “smart”phone for all technology-based communications (those other than carrier pigeon, smoke signals and mime). I quickly learned that mobile sites and apps are almost always missing at least 1 very useful piece of functionality.

The Pinterest mobile site, for example, is unusable and those hilarious graphic designers think the world revolves around the Apple megaopoly and haven’t even bothered releasing an Android version.

WordPress is slightly more accessible on a phone, but I decided it was all too much effort and so my good intentions took to heavy drinking and were soon found lying unconscious in a gutter.

Meanwhile, during this technology-forced hiatus there have  been so many people wrong on the internet and so much for me to bitch and moan about, but I had no outlet. So I’ve just had the operation to sew my brain back into my fragmented skull, and perhaps things can resume again.

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#8. Have some originality

Diane Arbus photograph, Identical Twins, Rosel...

Identical twins - have some excuse for lack of originality. Image via Wikipedia

I know someone who appears to be incapable of original thought. Without exaggeration, she copies Facebook status updates, poses her children for the same  photos that her friends have just shared, cooks the same thing someone else has mentioned they just cooked, and does all these things unashamedly as if she hasn’t noticed that she does it. From a psychological point of view, this once-ostracized ex-fatty is clearly terrified of being left behind, but while I understand her behaviour, her total lack of originality and, therefore, personality just completely bores my socks off. Ironically, it turns off the very people she’s clearly trying to align herself with.

In a nutshell, lack of originality is boring. Yes yes, herds of unoriginal people clan together so it doesn’t automatically mean you will end up alone, but by god it’s boring. Have I mentioned how boring it is?

More importantly (although not currently getting up my dander), lack of originality means lack of new ideas, which means lack of inventiveness, which means lack of progress, which means we’d all still be sitting around in caves beating each other over the head with clubs.

We need to be willing to put ourselves out there, stop being afraid to stand out, stop worrying about fitting in, start taking risks and trying out some of those crazy ideas floating around in the cavernous depths of our brains.

So go on, try to do something original today.

#7. Don’t support the troops

War Machine!

Image by kelvin255 via Flickr

Here’s a little morsel to chew on and get the digestive juices flowing.

This morning while I was washing the dishes and having  imaginary conversations with non-existent people all caught up in my head (momentary lapses of sensibility being rife before I’ve had my coffee), I thought to myself “what kind of person voluntarily signs up to be trained to kill total strangers (and very often innocent people)?”

I’ve never bought into the propagandic rhetoric of “support our troops” regardless of your feelings about the wars being fought. The truth is, I don’t support the troops. I don’t support what they do, I don’t support them getting paid to do it. I don’t support the choice they made to take part in the mass murder, rape and torture of people around the world. I don’t support the total lack of justification for their actions.

They weren’t conscripted. No one forced them to do it. They can cry about it all they like. They can expect us all to cheer them on and enable their bloody, murderous ways, but I won’t be there at the tickertape parade. I’ll be standing in my kitchen, elbow deep in suds, wondering what specific piece of DNA they are missing to turn them into monsters.

Meanwhile, I do acknowledge the absolute horror of military recruitment specifically targeting underprivelleged children before they even graduate from highschool, offering them “leadership training” and free university with the promise they’ll probably never be deployed. I realise how powerful the war propaganda machine is, and I do feel a pang of sadness that some people feel they have no option but to be trained to kill people, but not everyone in that position makes that same choice. There are those that do and those that say “no way, Jose” and besides all that, I still refuse to support any part of it.

By supporting the troops, despite your feelings about the wars being waged in the name of Christianity, or democracy, or whatever spin you  put on it, you are creating the message that it’s OK to be a soldier, that’s it’s OK to go out killing people, that’s it’s OK to go invade other countries and fuck with their political systems because the troops aren’t to blame.

Then who is to blame? The politicians? The parents? The education system?  Democracy? Christianity? Where does it begin? It doesn’t really matter because it ends with the individuals who are physically acting out the wars. Take the troops away and you have no war, just pointless political debates and failed ideologies. It’s the troops that make the war a reality. It’s the troops I do not support.

Desecrating the dead

#6. Take responsibility for your actions

Trawler

Image via Wikipedia

I realise that every title of every post could really just say “Don’t be a dumbarse” and I would cover all my bases, but I try to be a little more specific. However, I’ve struggled to narrow this one down. The subjects of this blog entry are so ridiculous, I’m not sure if I can do little more than make fish faces and gulp on air while I attempt to gather my thoughts.

I’m referring to the fisherfolk in an article I just read last night in the Sydney Morning Herald, about the fishermen’s answer to trawler overfishing around Newcastle that they, themselves, have identified as a serious environmental issue. Their solution? The government needs to buy them out and then they’ll stop overfishing.

Even as I type that some synapses in my brain are giving up on life and committing hara-kiri in the face of such outlandish dumbarsery. What ever happened to taking a little, a wee dram, an eency tiny bit of responsibility for our own actions?

Let me ask you this, dear fishermen. Just say you were a teenage hoodlum who enjoyed setting fire to piles of old tractor tyres in your spare time until one day you realised you were releasing toxic fumes into the atmosphere, would you ask someone to compensate you before stopping your destructive behaviour, or would you just perhaps stop without any fanfare or expecting the Australian of the Year Award?

The existence of governments make people lazy and detached from most issues in the world, believing it is the government’s responsibility to take care of things while we all sit around on our fat butts doing nothing but pay 80% of our salaries into various forms of taxation. But this? This really takes the cake. These guys are saying “we are responsible for fucking up the fish populations around here, we really suck and we know it, but we’re incapable of stopping because we’re clearly robots programmed to continue until someone comes and removes our motherboards.” I mean, seriously!

#5. Don’t trust your smart phone to make you smarter

Smartphone Evolution

The future in human evolution is, without a doubt, going in the direction of the convergence of humans and technology. I don’t think we need to worry about the uprising of the machines, because we are progressively making sweet love to our computers and having little robot babies. We are becoming the machines once feared by B-grade sci-fi.

At present time we stand alongside our computer compatriots, smart phones ready for immediate retrieval of information and sharing of erm, Facebook and Twitter updates. I’ve only had my phone for a year and I can’t imagine life before I held it in my grubby little paws and had the world permanently affixed to my fingertips.

I sincerely hope that the education paradigm is changing to accommodate our ability to access information readily and easily. I’m sure it’s not, I’m sure they still expect students to cram useless facts and figures the night before exams, puke it into the toilet bowl of examinations and forget it the next day. I’m sure they still forcibly remove phones from students in class and during tests to prevent them from being able to perform any research. God-forbid they discover their teacher is full of shit and has no idea what the hell s/he is talking about.

Anyway, I think I digressed a little because the point I was trying to make was, even though our little pocket companions of knowledge and access to Google allow us to research on the go, I have noticed a great irony of the smart phone. I am getting dumbified, stupidered by my autocorrection which has turned me into a gibbering idiot.

I now write sentences like: “Ill be coming round the mountain but I wont be wearing pink offhand.” Followed by the fragmented statement that makes sense only in the context of everyone else understanding that my phone is to blame, “Doh, pajamas.” Meanwhile ignoring the total lack of apostrophes in words like “I’ll” or “won’t” thus rendering most of what I say complete and utter nonsense.

A year ago I would have been very careful about correcting everyone else on the internet when it came to spelling and grammar. I was always very helpful in pointing out the error of their uneducated ways, but these days I just don’t know any more if I’m talking to a bona fide moron or someone whose smart phone is playing tricks on them. It has made it very difficult for me to single out 17 year olds and tease them about their apparent illiteracy, which used to be a favourite pastime of mine.

#4. Don’t be PayPal

English: A van that purports to be the 'WikiLe...

If you are striving for consistency in your behaviour, and to act in accordance with common decency, and to actually make sense, don’t copy PayPal who constantly find new and improved ways to be completely illogical.

Why are the douchebags running PayPal so against, well everything? It’s a bit sad that such a dictatorial group of power-mad monkeys have so much control over our money on the internet. How many people will have their accounts frozen and their hard-earned money stolen by Crims R Us before something else comes along to save us?

I would boycott PayPal yesterday if there was another service. As it is, I do avoid using PayPal at all available opportunities and rarely use my PayPal account. In fact, for all I know I’m already one in a loooooong list of many who have arbitrarily and unfairly lost their PayPal accounts, often mid-transaction. Nice little scam they have going there.

Here is a list of some PayPal accounts that have been shut down for no good reason. You might want to check to see if you’re on it:

  • Wikileaks (for illegal activities, when Wikileaks has never done anything illegal.)
  • Regretsy (PayPal closed down a charity for not being a worthy enough cause.)
  • Various World of Warcraft gold sellers (gamers selling gold may hurt the game economy. Oh no!)
  • Various Bitcoin traders (for absolutely no reason.)
  • Anyone selling e-cigs (vapour cigarettes that don’t stink out every person in a 5km radius, again for no good reason.)

The list goes on, but I’m having a bitch of a time adding links in this Android WordPress editor. So as a side note, #4b. Don’t be this WordPress editor, either.

PS. I found a free PC to help me with my linking issues, but I stand by my statement about the Android editor.

#3. Never stop asking “why?”

three phases in timed shutter release

Children love to experiment, ask why and experience the world through their senses. (Image via Wikipedia)

It has begun. The 3 year old has started questioning my authority on every subject, asking “why?” 16,000 times a day. This is in addition to him asking “what’s that mean?” about everything else.

This is the moment in his existence where it is my job, as his mother/god to destroy his natural desire to understand all the craziness of the world. He must not learn! Not on my watch!

Actually, as a matter of fact, incidentally, I have no desire whatsoever to quash his sponge-like ability to learn. Like every other parent, I fully expect my son to be gifted but unlike every other parent I intend to allow him to learn.

In our house we’ve banished the response “because I said so” to the fiery depths of parenting hell. Whatever the question, no matter how annoying, inconvenient or repetitive we endevour to answer if we can, including researching the information if we need to.

Not every “why?” can be answered, but that shouldn’t stop us from asking. If only we could all be more like 3 year olds.